Can’t take screenshots on iPhone or iPad? 9 solutions to fix this

The ability to take a screenshot is a feature built right into iOS and iPadOS. As a result, it works like a charm almost every time. However, sometimes screenshots fail on iPhone. The button press may not work, or the app you’re trying to screenshot might show an error message like “can’t take screenshots due to security policy.

If you’re unable to take screenshots on your iPhone or iPad, this tutorial will help you understand why and show you how to fix the issue.

Person holding an iPhone and trying to take a screenshot

Learn how to take screenshots on iPhone and iPad

In case you’re new to the iPhone, we recommend checking our full guide on taking screenshots on iPhone and iPad. It covers every model of iPhone or iPad ever released.

A mockup of iPhone with Face ID showing arrows pointing the buttons to take a screenshot

If you know how to take screenshots, but it fails, and no screenshot is saved to the iPhone Photos app, here are the nine solutions that will fix the issue.

1. Not every app allows screenshots

The first thing to know is that not every app lets you grab a meaningful screenshot. This is mostly the case with streaming services like Prime Video, which block screenshots and screen recordings to prevent misuse of their digital content. In these apps, you can take a screenshot, but it won’t capture anything meaningful that was on the screen. Instead, it will just be a black rectangle photo.

If you find yourself in such a situation, there isn’t much you can do except use a different phone to take a picture of what’s on your iPhone screen.

Next, we have banks and payment apps, which may block screenshots due to security and privacy reasons. Some may restrict screenshots entirely, while the rest may allow screenshots/screen recording for 30 minutes after you give explicit permission. If that’s the case, do the following to take screenshots in such an app:

  1. Go to your iPhone Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap the app name.
  3. Enable the switch for Allow Screen Recording if you see it.
  4. Now go back to the app and try taking a screenshot or doing a screen recording.
Allow Screen Recording for app in iPhone Settings

Note: In rare cases (like my bank app), you may not be allowed to take a meaningful screenshot even after you have followed the above steps!

Tip: One of my bank apps doesn’t let me take screenshots of the screen where my balance, account number, and other sensitive details are displayed (see the image below). But, if I navigate inside the app and go to a different in-app screen where it shows just my bank balance and the statement, then I can take screenshots there! So, if you’re unable to grab a screenshot on your iPhone inside a particular section of an app, try going to a different section (that has more or less the same info you want to screenshot) and see if you’re allowed to capture the screen there or not.

iPhone screenshots blocked for your security

Related: How to screenshot a Snap without sending a notification to the other user

2. End Guided Access

When you enable Guided Access on your iPhone, it keeps you (or the person whom you have handed over your iPhone to, like your kid) limited only to that one app on the screen.

Additionally, when Guided Access is in action, you can’t take screenshots using any method. That is:

  • Even if you tap Options and enable the Side Button and Volume Buttons, you can’t take a screenshot.Side and volume options in Guided Access on iPhone
  • You can’t summon Siri and ask it to capture a screenshot during Guided Access.
  • You can’t use AssistiveTouch during Guided Access to take a screenshot.

To end Guided Access and regain the screenshot functionality, triple press the Side button and enter your Guided Access passcode. After that, tap End. Once you’re out of Guided Access, you can take screenshots using any of the methods known to you.

End Guided Access on iPhone

3. Restart your iPhone

Sometimes, your iPhone may develop temporary glitches that prevent it from taking screenshots. This isn’t a major problem, and you can fix it effortlessly by just turning off your iPhone and turning it back on.

Related: How to restart your iPhone without using the Power or Volume buttons

4. Update your iPhone

I couldn’t find any old instance of a bug in iOS that prevented iPhones from taking screenshots. Still, if you’re running an old version of iOS on your iPhone, it’s best to go to Settings > General > Software Update to get the newest compatible iOS version. Hopefully, this can fix the issue with failing iPhone screenshots.

5. Check if buttons are pressed correctly

Sometimes, the volume button or the Side button may not work properly on your iPhone. Due to this, you have problems changing the audio level, locking your device, and taking screenshots.

If you recently dropped your iPhone on a hard surface, started using a new case, or haven’t cleaned your iPhone buttons in a long time, make sure to check carefully if the physical buttons are working or not.

Must see: How to fix volume button not working on iPhone

6. Use AssistiveTouch or Siri to capture a screenshot

By now, your screenshot problems should be fixed. But in the rare case things aren’t happy, here are two quick ways to take a screenshot without using the physical buttons:

7. Reset All Settings

In case you’re still unable to capture screenshots on your iPhone, go ahead and reset all your iPhone settings. This should put back all settings to the default state and hopefully resolve the issue.

Steps to Reset All Settings on iPhone

8. Erase and set up your iPhone again

If nothing mentioned-above works for you, back up your iPhone to iCloud (or a computer) and then erase it fully. After that, set it up again by restoring the backup. This should almost certainly fix the issue and here are the necessary tutorials to help:

9. Contact Apple Support and get your device inspected

Finally, if you still cannot capture a screenshot on your iPhone, chat with Apple Support and set up an in-store visit to a nearby Apple Store. Get your device inspected and fixed for it to do everything well.

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